Pakistani parliament won’t join Saudi war in Yemen

This video says about itself:

Civilians killed in Saudi-led airstrikes in Yemen

8 April 2015

The Saudi-led airstrike campaign in Yemen has already had a huge humanitarian impact. The airstrikes are not only hitting Houthi targets, but also causing collateral damage. Lack of medical supplies has made the situation even worse for those stuck in the middle of the conflict and for those with injuries.

The Pakistani parliament reminds me of the British parliament, when it decided just for once not to rubber stamp government plans, and voted against David Cameron’s plans to start a British (and United States, etc.) war against Syria.

From the BBC in Britain today:

Yemen conflict: Pakistan vote rebuffs Saudi call

30 minutes ago

Pakistan’s parliament has decided against military involvement in the Saudi-led coalition fighting Houthi rebels in Yemen, after days of debate.

Lawmakers voted unanimously in favour of a resolution that “Pakistan should maintain neutrality” in Yemen.

Saudi Arabia had asked Pakistan, an ally, to contribute ships, aircraft and troops to a military campaign it has launched against the Houthis.

Overnight, intense strikes by coalition warplanes battered southern Yemen.

The Saudi-led coalition says its aircraft have only targeted military camps, air bases, weapons depots and rebel headquarters, but civilian areas have often been hit.

The UN estimates that more than 560 people have been killed since 19 March.

Pakistan’s parliament began debating involvement on Monday and many lawmakers spoke out against sending troops to Yemen.

Friday’s resolution said that Pakistan should play a mediating role and backed the government’s commitment to protect Saudi territory, which has so far not been threatened in the conflict.

Saudi Arabia and Yemen share a border and there are fears instability might spill into Saudi territory.

“The parliament of Pakistan expresses serious concern on the deteriorating security and humanitarian situation in Yemen and its implications for peace and stability of the region,” the resolution said.

Analysts say Pakistan, which has a Sunni majority but also a Shia minority, fears being caught between the two if it sends troops to Yemen.

Analysis: M Ilyas Khan, BBC News, Islamabad

Saudi Arabia has been a major foreign donor to Pakistan – some say perhaps the third-largest after the US and China.

Late last year, for example, what finance minister Ishaq Dar initially described as a $3bn (£2bn) “gift from a friendly source” turned out to be Saudi largesse that was used to stabilise a free-falling rupee against the US dollar. Soon afterwards Pakistan officially backed the Saudi position on Syria.

So some resentment in Saudi quarters is to be expected from this vote. But Pakistanis have still left room for a troop deployment in Saudi Arabia if not in Yemen, which Saudis will certainly need if the conflict in Yemen drags on for longer.

There is a precedent for this. During the first Gulf War in 1991, Pakistan deployed two brigades to “defend holy sites” in Saudi Arabia.

The only other example of a Pakistani troop deployment abroad is to Jordan during the “Black September” of 1970, to help that government put down a Palestinian insurgency.

See also here.

8 thoughts on “Pakistani parliament won’t join Saudi war in Yemen

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